The most notable pro batters are recognized by some of their famous game-winning shots or the distinctive batting style that has enabled them to hit every shot perfectly. This is a result of regular rigorous practice and most importantly the use of the right technique.
Technique plays an important role for any player in the game. There are various techniques that players have to learn which later shapes their batting style. Every player on the field has to learn a set of techniques that will enable them to play the game better.
What is a batting stance?
This is one of the most common terms that you are going to be hearing if you are training to play for bigger tournaments. A batting stance is the primary phase of the first three phases in hitting and it enables you to get in the right position to ensure that you hit the ball perfectly.
The importance of a batting stance
Batting is not as easy as it seems. You may have managed to hit the ball from behind the plate without any experience or by imitating the actions of the batter. This may help you survive the practice pitches and even some in the tournaments.
However, if a pitcher identifies that you don’t have a proper batting technique you will be out in no time. The right batting stance allows you to hit the ball in the right angle and with the perfection motion.
A good batting stance helps you swing the ball perfectly by staying within the ball hitting the ball and this helps you to utilize your power well in all kinds of situations.
Most of the batters are not even aware of the different kinds of batting stances and their effect on their way of playing. From a general point of view, these stances may seem high, low, or narrow. Overall though, there are more than eighteen unique batting stances that are used by the players in a game.
It is not necessary that you pick a stance and try to adjust to it. Stances are more like personal preferences and you can choose from the conventional forms of stances or modify them to match your playing style.
A stance can be beneficial only if the batter is comfortable playing with it. The top Big-League players all have different types of stances. If you look closely, you will find that a very small percentage of Big-league players is a modified version of the traditional stances.
Different types of batting stances
As mentioned above, there are many unique batting stances that can be used by the players in all kinds of games. However, these batting styles can be narrowed down to the basic four batting stances that can be learned.
Square batting stance
Among the many stances that are used for batting in baseball, the square stance is the most commonly used stance. Since it is the simplest and most convenient stance in the game, many coaches agree that it is the best stance for all kinds of batters.
If you have started to play baseball, then this is the stance you should use. It enables you to cover the entire plate effortlessly and makes your swing and stride less complicated. To get into a square stance, here is what you need to do.
- You need to keep both feet in line with the pitcher and parallel to the edges of the batter’s box.
- When moving during a strike, your stride should move towards the pitcher.
- With a proper square stance, you will be able to hit any pitch thrown at you.
- The square stance keeps your upper body in the correct position to attack the baseball.
- Square stance makes it easier to see the pitcher with both eyes.
Open Batting Stance
If you are not comfortable with the square stance, you can try the open batting stance. Players use this stance for numerous reasons, but the most common and significant reason is low ball visibility.
Players using this stance like to get on the plate and pull the baseball, or they used to step in the bucket when they are in the square position.
- As the name suggests the stance makes you open to the pitcher as it involves placing the front foot further from the home plate than your back foot. Open stance allows you to turn your head a little more to the pitcher so you will be able to see the ball better with both eyes.
- In an open stance, you need to get back to the square to hit the ball, therefore, your front foot will step towards the home plate eliminating the tendency to step away from the plate if you start from the square.
- This is a problem that some hitters face commonly when a right-handed batter is facing a right-handed pitcher and the same happens with left-handed players.
- Some people think the easiest to get rid of this problem is closing the feet off, but this will make you step in the bucket more and put in the same spot with your feet.
- To be able to hit any pitch thrown at any speed, you need to place your feet back to the square.
- Players who are proficient at pulling the ball are known to use this stance.
- Moving closer to the plate will help you in covering the outside part of the plate and enable -you to gather the maximum power required to pull the ball.
- Many players end up focusing too much on pulling the baseball and don’t get back to the square, which is why this stance is important for such hitters as it keeps them closer to the plate.
Closed batting stance
This was the most popular batting stance in the 90s but is barely used by any players these days. It was mainly used as a trick and it was known for creating the illusion of looking one way and hitting the other way.
Owing to its tricky nature it often created a problem for the batters and stopped them from getting inside a pitch. This stance closes your upper body which prevents the bat from being able to cover the required distance to get inside the ball as it has to around your body.
Players who are looking to change the direction of the hit to the opposite side of the pitch; use this stance. Here is how to get a closed batting stance and how it affects your game.
- To get into a closed batting stance, you need to place your front foot closer to the plate and the back foot is placed behind. This makes you appear close to the pitcher.
- Since your back is turned towards the pitcher, you might face difficulty in seeing the ball
- You can try to switch to square stance from this position but if your foot slides from the back from the plate, then your momentum will start to drift away from the pitcher.
- You will be able to handle pitch in a better way if you keep your feet closed at contact. It also makes your path to an inside pitch very long and tough to get to consistently.
To learn more about batting stances, you can watch this video:
How to set a proper batting stance
Now that you about the different types of batting stances, there are some fundamentals that you need to understand and consider when using these stances in a game. These fundamentals can help you establish a better stance and hit the ball more efficiently.
Set your feet
The position of your feet plays a crucial role in any kind of stance. Well placed feet set your lower body from a certain angle which makes swings and hits effortlessly. Here’s how you need to set your feet for a baseball stance.
- Align your feet to your shoulders in a straight line.
- Take your front foot place it towards the pitcher at five-to-seven inches. Remember that your aim is to maintain balance and therefore the batting stance must not be too narrow or too wide.
- Keep your body weight on the back foot and your front foot planted firmly, this will enable you to use your body force for swing.
Keep yourself aligned with the pitcher
You need to keep your stance aligned to the pitch while keeping your toes and chest towards the home plate and holding the bat parallel to the ground while keeping your arms extended.
The barrel should cover the width of home plate, which allow your swing to go through the strike zone. This will give you an idea of how far you have to stand from the plate. Your stance should make your swing smooth and should let you extend your arms effortlessly.
Bend your knees
In some stances maintaining a good balance can be tricky, the easiest way to do it is by bending the knee. The spring effect created by your knee lets you balance your body and facilitates fluid movements.
Hitters also find balance or feel comfortable by tapping their front toe or wagging their bat but moving too much can hinder your focus of watching the pitcher and track the ball.
Align your fingers
The way you grab the bat also affects the impact the stance can have on your game. Even if you play with the best baseball bat, without proper grip your hits won’t make a difference.
The correct way to grip a bat is to arrange your fingers by holding one hand above the other and make sure they touch each other. You need to align your knuckles of both top and bottom hand in a straight line. If you rotate your hand in either direction, you might end up making your swing even more rigid.
Keep your eyes on the pitcher
To hit the successfully at the required angle you need to get the full view of the pitcher. You can do this by keeping your head up straight and chin turned slightly towards your front shoulder. This works with the basic logic: two eyes are better than one.
By keeping your head in this position, you can track the ball from the time it leaves the pitchers hand to the time it reaches the barrel of your bat.
Before you swing the bat, you need to hold it at the right height. Your arms should be no higher than shoulder-level and the back elbow should create a straight line to your shoulder that’s parallel to the ground. Meanwhile, your hands should be at the same level as your pectoral while the bat is diagonal to your head.
This position will enable you to swing your arm effortlessly and hit the ball in an easier way. To get a perfect swing, you can also take the help of a swingrail.
To learn more about maintaining a good stance, you can watch this video:
When you play a game with a proper technique, the best results are imminent. These batting stances can enhance your game to a great extent. Moreover, you have the choice of modifying them according to your convenience.
I hope the above information has helped you gain significant information on batting stances and helps you in using them in a real game situation. If you have any queries or suggestions, you can write them in the comments.
My name is David Farnum and I’ve been a Little League Coach in my community for the past 7 years. With 2 boys playing baseball and 1 girl playing softball, most weekends I can be found near a baseball diamond.